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Federation Of Primary Health Says Today’s Budget “Shows Commitment From Government”

A strong step forward in addressing health inequities for Māori is one of the key positives in today’s budget according to the Chair of New Zealand’s peak body for Primary Care, Federation of Primary Health Aotearoa NZ (FPHANZ).

Steve Chadwick says the $11.1b earmarked for the health reforms indicates a strategic and long-term approach to improving our health system.

“It shows a long-term commitment to improvements that are badly needed to help future-proof the New Zealand health system,” she says. “With $ $1.8b in new spending for the coming year to address historic cost pressures, including DHB deficits, and $76m to invest in workforce development for training and primary care specialists, we believe some of the issues the country has been facing can start to be addressed,” she says. “We have never seen a budget focus on health like this before.”

Consumer representative on the FPHNZ board, Philip Chapman, is based in Nelson and is the National Chair of Male Survivors Aotearoa. He works with those affected by homelessness, family violence, sexual violence, addiction and mental health. He says the $202m announced for mental health will be “very welcome”.

“It’s been a long time coming. I know what a difference this could make,” he says, adding he looks forward to hearing more details regarding the funding allocation. “We don’t need more committees; this money has to go to the people actually doing the work.”

As well as mental health, dental health has received a welcome boost in this year’s budget Federation board member, Māori Health expert and former Deputy Director-General of Health, Teresa Wall is a member of the Māori Oral Health Quality Improvement Group and says she is pleased with the funding announced however more detail is needed.

“Child oral health data shows a far greater proportion of Māori have dental disease, and their experience of this disease is more severe,” she says. “We congratulate the Government on delivering its election promise to increase the special needs grant administered by MSD to cover emergency dental treatment from $300 to $1000. We are assuming that people who access this dental grant will be able to use this for dental treatment over multiple years and not just for one-off pain relief, and will still be eligible for the special needs grant for their other emergency needs.”

Steve Chadwick says there is still much detail to come however the FPHANZ believes this budget will create the building blocks that will enable the meaningful change to the basic foundations of how we deliver health services.

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